On Translation: The Audience is the title of the project that Muntadas had developed with Witte de With from October 1998 to September 1999, in various institutions in the city of Rotterdam. The work took place over twelve months, ‘happening’ every four weeks in a different institution.

The publication On Translation: The Audience develops and explores essential aspects of the new work, through notions related to the concepts of translation, reception, and interpretation in today’s culture. If the field of the action is limited to institutions, the project appealed to the critical capacity of the public to convert perception into meaning.

The book features original texts by Marc Augé, ethnographer and–then–director of the Center of Anthology of the Contemporary Worlds in Paris, and Octavi Rofes,–then–director of studies at the EINA design school in Barcelona. Augé offers an invitation to consider the mediating function of (art) objects which, through their location in space, render visible and thinkable the relations of the individual ‘to those with respect to whom he defines himself and constructs his identity.’ Rofes proposes the exercise of inserting the city – Rotterdam – into the context of the artistic project, inverting the traditional perceptual poles of ‘figure and ground’ and reflecting on the models of the public in relation to cultural tourism. A visual intervention by Muntadas rounded out the original contributions to this book.

Two ‘epigraphs’ complete the volume: the classical essay “The Task of the Translator” by Walter Benjamin, and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimbletts’ “Confusing Pleasures”.